1. Salvaging First Impressions – The Pursuit Of Happiness
I’ve always thought this was a great movie scene — here you have Chris Gardner at the most important interview of his life, being forced into a circumstance that makes him look the opposite of a qualified candidate. Yet, through determination and the sheer willingness to never take no for an answer, Gardner works his magic.
2. The Importance Of Self-Respect – Rudy
In this famous scene, the janitor goes in on Rudy for feeling sorry for himself — making Rudy realize that after all he’s gone through, the only statement quitting is making is just that. Rudy owes it to himself to follow through.
3. “Sell Me This Pen” – Wolf Of Wall Street
Whatever you think of Jordan Belfort, there’s no denying his impeccable ability to sell both himself and whatever product he may be looking to push. Here’s a classic lesson in getting people to cater to you agenda. Hopefully, your agenda is a bit more morally intact.
4. The Value Of Experience – Good Will Hunting
As someone who spends most of his time staring at a screen, I am definitely qualified to talk about the value of experiencing the world.
5. Does It Get Easier? – Lost In Translation
Bill Murray has said that that out of all the scenes he’s done, this is one of his favorites. I’ve always found this to be such a powerful display of human connection –how rare is it that two people in a bed could connect so deeply, without the inevitable sex?
It also suggests that while things get easier as you get older, they simultaneously get a lot more complicated. The trick is tweak your outlook.
6. Handling Pain – Fight Club
At the end of this scene, Tyler Durden utters the famous line “it’s only after we’ve lost everything that we’re free to do anything.” I think this scene (and the quote) says a lot about fear and the pain associated with fear. If you’re fearless, what you can accomplish is extraordinary.
Ultimately, this is the lesson Edward Norton learns at the end of the movie.
7. Drinking People’s Milkshakes – There Will Be Blood
I viewed There Will Be Blood as a cautionary tale. Like the aformentioned Belfort, Daniel Plainview succeeds (a. because he works ridiculously hard, but (b. because he really doesn’t give a shit about other people, so has no problem manipulating them and completely breaking their spirits.
To me, this classic scene seemed more like a failure than a triumph — what happens when you put personal success above everything else. There’s a limit to everything.
8. My Mouth’s Bleeding! – It’s a Wonderful Life
This is done so brilliantly. What’s initially viewed as the last straw is turned on it’s head, becoming a cause for extreme celebration.
A reminder that all things are relative — it’s not so much what things are as it is how you look at them.